Bulldogs End Regular Season On High Note, Edge Columbia 75-71

The Downeys and Dalliers enjoyed a winning Senior Night (Steve Musco photo)
The Downeys and Dalliers enjoyed a winning Senior Night (Steve Musco photo)

Third Straight Victory For Yale; Next Up Harvard In Ivy Tournament

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale will head to the Palestra for the Ivy League Tournament on a high note. Blake Reynolds scored 16 points and Alex Copeland added 13 as the Bulldogs won their third straight game, knocking off Columbia 75-71 in the regular season finale before a spirited crowd at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

"You always want momentum going forward," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "You can't help but think about how you played in the last game. This game can influence the rest."

Yale certainly hopes so. The Bulldogs played very well down the stretch, overcoming a 14-point first-half deficit to earn the victory.

"I feel good about how gritty we were," Jones said. "The guys stuck to it."

It was pair of outstanding defensive plays late that helped secure the win for the Bulldogs. With the score tied at 71, Miye Oni blocked a Mike Smith layup. Copeland corralled the loose ball, raced up court and hit a layup to give Yale a 73-71 lead with 1:18 left.

It stayed that way until Anthony Dallier blocked a Nate Hickman shot with nine seconds remaining. Oni then sank two free throws with five seconds left to seal the win.

The block capped a memorable final home game for Dallier, a senior who had eight assists and four steals. Sam Downey, who also was playing his final regular season game at JLA, contributed nine points and six rebounds.

The win was No. 81 for Dallier and Downey in their four years, making them the winningest class in the modern history of Yale Basketball.

It was important for the rest of the team to win for the two seniors.

"It's a great feeling," said Trey Phills, who had 11 points. "They have been a great duo, and we wanted to send them off the right way."

Now the Bulldogs can turn their full attention to the Ivy League Tournament and a matchup with Harvard.

"I'm really excited," said Reynolds. "To play in the first ever Ivy Tournament is pretty neat."

The loss was just half of a heartbreaking night for Columbia. A Harvard win over Penn would have given the Lions the No. 4 seed in the Ivy Tournament. Instead shortly after the game ended, they watched Penn's Jackson Donahue hit a three-pointer with six seconds left to lift the Quakers to a 75-72 win, earning Penn the fourth seed.

The Quakers play top-seeded Princeton in the first semifinal next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

NOTES

The Bulldogs (17-10 overall) finished 9-5 in Ivy play, their seventh straight season with a winning league mark… Phills was 9-of-10 from the free throw line… Yale was 19-of-27 from the foul line, while Columbia finished 8-of-10… The Lions grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 24 second-chance points… The Bulldogs made eight three-pointers and have hit 29 treys in their last three games… Yale had 19 assists on its 24 field goals… Copeland scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half… The Bulldogs held Columbia to 37 percent shooting from the field.

IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT TICKETS

Fans can purchase tickets to the Ivy League Tournament at The Palestra by visiting http://ivymadness.com/tickets/Ticket_Information_for_-IvyMadness 


Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity